Tale Of The Tape: Green Bay Packers At Detroit Lions
- QuarterbackAfter Aaron Rodgers injured his left shoulder against the Chicago Bears in the Week Nine Monday night game, the hope was that he would return to the lineup for this Thanksgiving Day game at Detroit. That seemed a bit of a stretch from the start and it is almost certain that Scott Tolzien will be back in the lineup for the Packers once again. That means the Packers will have to scramble to find a way to win.Matthew Stafford must step up and deliver a great game against the Lions’ divisional rivals. Stafford has been good against the Chicago Bears, but the Lions lost their first game against the Packers in Green Bay. They can’t let this traditional home game slip through their fingers and that means Stafford must have one of his best games of the season.
- OffenseThe Packers are going to try to attack the Lions with their running game. Eddie Lacy has a legitimate chance to push hard for the rookie of the year award because of his relentless and attacking running style. He is very solid between the tackles and he can cause damage at the second level. Jordy Nelson is going to get open, but can the quarterback get him the ball consistently.Putting together a gameplan is a lot easier when you know that Calvin Johnson is going to be in the lineup. If Johnson can continue to string excellent games together, he has a chance to put his name in the MVP conversation. Reggie Bush is a big threat on the ground and he should also be able to do damage as a receiver. Joseph Fauria remains a solid red zone threat at tight end.
- DefenseThe Packers will need one of their best defensive efforts of the season in order to have a chance to win this game. While they are very tough against the interior run thanks to B.J. Raji and Johnny Jolly, the defense can wear down late in games. Linebackers A.J. Hawk and Clay Matthews can put their imprint on the game with their hard hitting, while cornerback Tramon Williams must be sharp vs. Johnson.The Lions have excellent defensive personnel up front, as they are led by defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley. Both men have shown the tendency to make big plays when the game is on the line. However, both have also made huge miscues and discipline is a concern. Linebackers DeAndre Levy and Stephen Tulloch are both underrated and assets to Gunther Cunningham’s defense.
- Special TeamsThe Packers have been better on special teams this year than they were in 2012. Placekicker Mason Crosby’s improvement is one of the main reasons for that. Tim Masthay is just an average punter, but return specialist Michah Hyde can do some damage for the Packers.The Lions have a solid return specialist in Micheal Spurlock. He is at his best when he makes one cut and then heads up the field. He struggles going east to west, as do all but the fastest return specialists. Veteran David Akers has been a good but not great placekicker.
Since it is looking less and less likely that Rodgers will be in the lineup for this game, the Lions have the advantage. Look for a big passing day from Stafford and a monster game from Johnson.